This past weekend we were able to help with ongoing work going on in the Glen Haven community which if we haven’t mentioned before is inhabited primarily by immigrant and refugee families. Many of these families are Bhutanese and Nepalese however there are also families from Burma, Vietnam, Niger, Iraq, and Pakistan. This is a community Guilford and more specifically the Bonner Center has been involved in through a variety of ways including being a drop off site location for donated veggies from grocery stores in the area as well as Guilford’s farm and tutoring programs for the youth living there.
In the back of the apartment complex, there is a row of raised beds filled with bright red peppers, pink striped beans, and outspreading squash! This is a really amazing testament to the vibrancy and resilience of the communities that we have been lucky enough to be apart of. Andrew from Bonner was a leading role in the project this weekend in an attempt to create a learning environment while also building a place to grow food and in turn improve the community member’s health.
Much of the focus was on having the women in the Women’s Learning Group that meet on Fridays to put their English vocabulary to the test in the tactile skills of measuring, hammering and using the drill. With a group of eight from Guilford and the help of the families of this community, we were able to build two beds equipped with nice fresh compost that will hopefully be a space of new growth! This was a really great way for our two communities to work together and getting to interact with the individuals of the community in a more personal way.
Although sometimes there is giggling we don’t understand or conversations we miss, we are always welcomed with smiling faces and this hot Sunday even brought us refreshing water and mountain dew too! Having a language barrier can definitely make things complicated especially when the extent of our knowledge is ‘namaste’ and some of the words for vegetables we have learned in which we have no idea how to spell (yet!) It takes persistence from both sides to break down these walls and our team is still working on the names of the people we see each week. However, food and friendship quickly bring our two communities together and I think it’s safe to say our group really looks forward to our time with these women each week as we are always brightened up by their boundless joy, (and soon I hope we’ll have more to say than just Namaste and tomatar.)
Keep a look out this week for a blog post about how to make your own compost bin which Jake taught the group how to make last week!
Jake and Amelia